Rebellion in a Perfect Universe
Love is patient, love is kind … until it’s not.
Welcome to the world of love bombing, one of the most effectively manipulative tactics for reeling in a special someone and keeping them hooked through the abuse.
Oftentimes, a love bomber declares intense and passionate feelings in the early stages of a relationship to build a false sense of trust with the victim. Once the abuser’s true colors begin showing, (s)he will revert back to desperate proclamations of love, all the while gaslighting and guilting the victim, continuing the vicious cycle.
“When love bombing is used as a manipulation strategy, it violates others’ boundaries and needs, leading to people feeling excessive guilt or feeling unsafe in the relationship,” clinical psychologist Mary Spillane explains.
Although a relationship that stirs feelings of excessive guilt and fear is a glaring red flag, it can be much harder to spot a faker than it seems. The New York Times dug up some pro tips for identifying bad actors, such as tracking excessive attention and gift-giving, isolation tactics, and narcissistic personality traits.
In advising others in their ministry and interpersonal relationships, the apostle Paul defines real love in this way:
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8, ESV)
And as evidenced by Christ’s death on the cross, it’s also sacrificial.
In other words, the complete opposite of love bombing.
When the world fell into sin, humanity’s image of God, Who is love, was corrupted. Only God can restore love as it was meant to be in the human heart. The whole plan of salvation is to ensure that our hearts are transformed and reconciled to God.
And how we treat others reveals if we have opened our hearts to that transformation, for “Anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:8, ESV).
Connecting: Think of a time you or someone you know was love bombed. What were the long-term impacts?
Sharing: Did Lucifer ever have the capacity to love?
- No, angels and ex-angels don’t feel or express love
- Yes, Lucifer was made perfect but rejected God’s love
- Since Lucifer was a heavenly being, we cannot know how he would experience love
- Lucifer only loves himself
- God inhibited Lucifer’s expression of love so that our history would play out this way
Applying: Have you ever relied on a close relationship to get what you wanted? Maybe you took advantage of God’s love. Make a dual journal entry, with the first half consisting of your acknowledgement of your actions and an apology, and the second part revealing that person’s (or God’s) response.